Single Cell Protein (SCP)
Single cell proteins are dried cells of microorganism that are used as protein supplement in human foods or animal feeds. Single Cell Protein (SCP) offers an unconventional but plausible solution to protein deficiency faced by the entire humanity. Although single cell protein has high nutritive value due to their higher protein, vitamin, essential amino acids and lipid content, there are doubts on whether it could replace conventional protein sources due to its high nucleic acid content and slower in digestibility.
Microorganisms used for the production of Single Cell Protein are as follows:
• Bacteria – Methylophilus methylotrophus, Cellulomonas, Alcaligenes
• Fungi – Agaricus campestris, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast), Candida utilis
• Algae – Spirulina, Chlorella, Chlamydomonas
The single cell protein forms an important source of food because of their protein content, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. It is used by Astronauts and Antarctica expedition scientists.
Spirulina can be grown easily on materials like waste water from potato processing plants (containing starch), straw, molasses, animal manure and even sewage, to produce large quantities and can serve as food rich in protein, minerals, fats, carbohydrate and vitamins. Such utilization also reduces environmental pollution. 250 g of Methylophilus methylotrophus, with a high rate of biomass production and growth, can be expected to produce 25 tonnes of protein.
Applications of Single-Cell Protein
• It is used as protein supplement
• It is used in cosmetics products for healthy hair and skin
• It is used as the excellent source of protein for feeding cattle, birds, fishes etc.
• It is used in food industry as aroma carriers, vitamin carrier, emulsifying agents to improve the nutritive value of baked products, in soups, in ready-to-serve-meals, in diet recipes
• It is used in industries like paper processing, leather processing as foam stabilizers